Thursday, August 12, 2010

Monroe Agility Trial - June 2010

Maxie in Monroe
Legs Earned: Maxie, 8 runs, 4 Qs
OS1, OS2, OS3, OJ1, 4 scores of 100, 4 1st places.
Got our Open Agility TITLE!

Monroe was our 3rd trial, our 1st 4 day trial (a bit overwhelming), and our first trial where a professional photographer was present taking still pictures. 
Here's the link (click on Photo Album) to the professional photos of Maxie's runs, taken by Fast Click Photos. I was shocked to see my wee little boy running his heart out and looking so serious and focused, instead of just the cute and cuddly furball he is at home. He really does try hard for me.  I need to try harder for him.

I paid $50 for the CD because it's impossible to get any good action shots with a regular camera.  But it took several emails and phone calls and over a month before Fast Click sent them to me, which was not impressive. I wanted my pictures right away.


We met up at Nedra's house at noon and caravaned to Monroe in 3 cars:  Nedra and Georgie, Loralie, and me, stopping at the Dairy Queen in Natches for a pottie break and ice cream.  The scenery was gorgeous rolling hills, fields of soy, corn and, I think, sugar cane, as far as the eye could see.  Not a bad drive. Arrived at the trial site at about 4 to set  up our crates, only to learn the arena would close at 5.  If we had left BR later than noon, we would have been locked out and scrambling to set up real early the next morning. The others stayed at the nearby Red Roof Inn. Noel and Cheryl H joined us later in the weekend. Also there from LCCOC were Tracey, Michele S and; Blake S, but they crated up elsewhere. 

Thursday, Friday, Saturday: We earned our Open Standard title -- 3 runs, 3 Q's, 3 scores of 100, 3 1st places, and good time.  After which, I moved us up to compete in our first Excellent Standard run on Sunday.

Thursday, we also earned our first leg in Open Jumpers, score of 100, 1st place, and good time.  The other 3 Jumpers runs that weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun), we scratched.  Some advise not to dwell on NQ's but I learned so much from them that I want to record them:

2nd Open Jumpers run, Friday:  I thought we Q'd and did perfect, not realizing Max had popped out of the last weave pole.  I had taken my eyes off of him just a second to see where the next obstacle was, breaking the rule of "NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF YOUR DOG".  Apparently it is true that dogs take queue's from your eyeballs.  In Open, I could have gone back and corrected this mistake if only I had noticed it.  But I didn't.  My bad.

3rd Open Jumpers run, Saturday:  Again, I thought we Q'd and did perfect, not realizing Max had knocked a bar.  Max, who never knocks bars.  You can't go back and correct that, as much as you might want to. After the run I asked the scribe how we did, and she snapped "YOU GOT AN F."  I felt slapped.  Reviewing the videos, though, I saw the bar go down -- a "failure to perform". Max was running very fast, went wide, and barely cleared the outer pole.  I don't think I pushed him.  Dogs make errors of judgment, too.

4th Open Jumpers run, Sunday:  We scratched and performed dismally.  Max popped out of the weaves, I saw it and went back to correct, but he popped out again, then again.  You only get 3 tries.  Worse, there was a deep divit at the second to last pole, and I had watched several little dogs fall on their faces, or lose their stride, or pop out.  We never made it that far so I can't blame the divit, except that maybe I went in fearing it.  The sand was also very soft around the poles, and Max didn't like that.

Truth is, the last 2 days of the trial, we were just tired and stressed out. I didn't sleep well the whole weekend, and kept locking myself out of the Theus's house.  I wasn't used to the little knob inside the doorknobs that you have to twist to keep the door unlocked.  On Sunday morning, while making several trips to load the car, I had to wake them up twice to let me back in.  It was so embarassing, I burst into tears, and that's how I was when we did our . . . . .

1st Excellent Standard run, Sunday, 8 a.m.:  Max ran faster than ever, but took 2 or 3 wrong courses and did one spin.  It wasn't a particularly hard course, but it was 7:45 in the morning, for chrissake! I was still half-asleep, wobbly on my feet, staggering around.  Reviewing the video, it seems Max made as many errors in judgment as I did. We scratched big time, but at least he didn't take a poop 3 feet before the last jump like another little doggie did -- an otherwise a perfect run for that Excellent dog!  It's handler must have been shocked!  Everyone laughed, though, because you just never know what's going to happen out there.
Max (L), Willow (R) and me
at the Embroidery Booth,
wearing my lucky hat and new shirt
with Papillon pockets.

Videos: Here is the link to Maxie's Monroe Trial Videos.  All of Friday's videos were lost.

At the trial, I bought 2 baseball caps with papillons embroidered on them, and wore my new Red Stick Agility T-shirt with the 2 embroidered pockets made for me by Loralie -- both good luck charms.  They worked when I wore them!  I also wore my lucky socks, and lucky necklace, which didn't help a bit on Sat and Sun!

On the 4.5 hour drive back to Baton Rouge on Sunday afternoon, I got so sleepy I pulled into a McDonalds about an hour out of Monroe.  I could barely keep my eyes open and figured to sleep in the parking lot under a shady tree.  Then I remembered I had bought a 5-hour Energy Drink, in a tiny little bottle.  I got it out of the trunk, drank it down, and within 15 minutes was back on the road completely alert the whole way home.

The Theus's front porch, early morning, overlooking a lake.
One thing I learned, as I did in Hattiesburg earlier, is that accommodations are very important.  One needs one's rest.  Max, Willow and I had the good fortune to stay with Ken Theus and his parents at their lovely home on the lake in Monroe. His mother and dad were charming and very accommodating, we all cooked and ate supper together each evening, and Ken was a delightful host, showing me around Monroe and telling me stories of his years training and judging dogs. Still, new place, different bed, figuring my way around town, and a weird air bag alarm going off in my car created stress over and above trialing.

It was the best of circumstances, though, and will stay in my memory fondly. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of the Theus's and their home. All I have is one photo of their front porch, where I sat sipping my morning coffee.

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